Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Salaries of new law grads

Salaries of new law grads have been bimodal for some time (at least since 2000), with the high mode being hires at large law firms. That mode, which is very narrow (all the big firms pay the same wage) has stayed at $160,000/year for the last several years. Here's a report from the NALP: Salaries for New Lawyers: An Update on Where We Are and How We Got Here by Judith N. Collins.

The paper contains graphs of the salary distributions for 1991, 1996, 2000, 2006, and 2011.

"As the 1990s progressed, the curve maintained its basic shape, though salary increases at large firms gradually moved more of the salaries to the right of the $70,000 mark. In 1996, salaries of $75,000 and $85,000 became more common than salaries of $70,000, but $75,000 and $85,000 still each represented just 6% of salaries, and 45% of salaries were in the $30,000 to $40,000 range.

"In 1998 and 1999, the marker again moved to the right, to $90,000, and about 6% of salaries. This corresponds with a period of salary increases, moving the median at firms of 251+ lawyers from $72,000 in 1995 to over $90,000 in 1999. The shift notwithstanding, the overall distribution maintained the basic, though lopsided, bell shape.

That shape changed dramatically in 2000 as large firms increased their starting salaries to $125,000. Beyond just the amount of the increase, of more consequence for the salary distribution was how widespread the increase was. Suddenly nearly 14% of salaries were reported at $125,000, a proportion that can only be partially explained by an increasing percentage of jobs taken in large firms. The result was, for the first time, two peaks, with the other encompassing the $30,000 to $50,000 range. Thus, even though the peak to the left was now fatter and accounted for more salaries — 48% versus the 14% at $125,000 — never before had a single salary so dominated the landscape. The $125,000 peak remained through 2005."

See previous posts on the various markets for lawyers, which are pretty interesting (the markets if not the posts...). For one thing, the market for new associates at big law firms is  unraveled in time, with new hires most often coming through the pipeline as second year summer associates, presently being hired at the beginning of their second year of law school.

1 comment:

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Law is most important part in each and every field. You share such nice details about salaries of new grads. Its very useful for every one.